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At present, Latin America is the most urbanized region on the planet and, according to UNESCO data, more than 80% of the population lives in cities and towns, places where more activities are generated that contribute to global warming. In addition, in the last 40 years, population growth has tripled and it is expected that by 2030 there will be 609 million inhabitants in the region. Brazil, Mexico and Venezuela are the countries in the region with the most carbon dioxide (CO2) produce and where there are more urbanized localities.
Therefore, it is undeniable that there is a direct relationship between cities and the level of CO2.2 that is broadcast. What efforts are being made for sustainable development that allows reducing carbon dioxide levels and tackling global warming? Gilberto Arias, consultant on climate change issues, argues in ConexionCOP that education and guidance on sustainable development is needed to learn about business opportunities.
There are energy efficiency schemes that are sources of new jobs and new skills, but in Latin America they are not yet analyzed in that way. Long-term signals are needed to demonstrate the developing opportunity paths into the future in real estate and infrastructure, not only in the private sector, but also in the public sector., he comments.
Video: Carbon Cycle
Like Arias, Jorge Álvarez Lam, officer of the United Nations Energy and Environment Program in Peru, explains that many cities in Latin America have begun a process for the development of strategies, directing their actions, especially in the mitigation options in which local governments have an influence. However, progress is still very little compared to the potential that exists in the region.
We could say that it is a trend that is just taking off, cities like Santiago and Bogotá already have these implementation strategies and cities like Lima are already establishing strategies, highlights.
Climate change, co2 and cities
In 2000, Latin America contributed 5.5% of the total CO2 in the world. Although the figure represents only a small part of the total of these emissions on the planet, in Latin America four countries are mainly responsible: Mexico (471,459 tons), Brazil (368,317 tons), Argentina (183 thousand tons) and Venezuela ( 165,550 tons).
Tabaré Arroyo Currás, advisor to the Global Energy and Climate Change initiative of the World Wildife Fund (WWF), indicates that 35% of CO emissions in the region2 They are linked to transport and 23% are related to electricity and heat generation, which directly allow the generation of global warming. For him, it is important to generate sustainable development through strategies that opt for the supply of renewable energy and promote energy savings in homes.
According to the World Health Organization, in 2012 around 7 million people died from diseases linked to air pollution; on the other hand, the CO2 contributes mainly to the acceleration of global warming, he maintains.
In this infographic you will find the ranking of the countries that emit the most CO2
Gilberto Arias indicates that, in terms of citizen health, as has been recorded in large cities around the world, the smog it is particularly harmful and its effect is greater in respiratory disorders; therefore, it highlights the need for a change in transportation systems.
There are multiple gains to having well-developed public transportation systems. In certain cities, our dependence on fuel can cause huge fluctuations in the cost of living of citizens, since our transport consumption is relatively inelastic. As our dependence on fossil fuels increases, we are increasingly exposed. However, we can go migrating to renewable fuels. Not only do we have direct benefits on health and the local environment, we also achieve more control over the impact of transportation on our net income, Explain.
Good examples of Sustainable development in Latin America
To face climate change and reduce CO2 emissions, it is necessary to create a sustainable development policy that is based on natural resources and, at the same time, is supported by proper urban planning.
Currently, cities that are resilient to climate change are needed and it is in this context that adaptation and / or mitigation plans are carried out. According to the document on Low Carbon Development Strategies in Latin American Megacities, in Bogotá the Pico y de Placa Program has been developed, a program that implies that private vehicles and public transport are prohibited from traveling in the city for 2 days a the week. In addition, Mexico has created the Mexico City Climate Action Program, a design of different lines of action that contribute to the reduction of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) emitted by different sectors.
According to Gilberto Arias, the goal is the use of renewable energies without emissions that mark steps towards cleaner solutions.
The goal of 2 ° C of maximum warming will imply a reduction to zero CO emissions2 around the middle of this century, and every city in the world will have to consider this in their development policy, he maintains.